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Former Iran hostages plan 30-year reunion

WEST POINT - Barry Rosen touched down on a tarmac at Newburgh 30 years ago and into the arms of a wife and two children lost to him during 444 days of captivity in Iran. Then came the exhilarating bus ride to West Point along a route lined with yellow ribbons and crowds chanting, "USA! USA!"

Three decades after his release on Jan. 20, 1981, Rosen will be among many of the former hostages returning here to the site of their emotional homecoming for a reunion hosted by the U.S. Military Academy.

"I don't want to get maudlin about this, but 30 years is a long time, and we're getting older as a group," Rosen told The Associated Press.

The crisis began when Iranian students took dozens of hostages in 1979 after the United States refused to deport the deposed shah, in the United States for cancer treatment. Fifty-two of the hostages endured 444 days of captivity.

The sudden announcement of their release came as Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president in 1981, denying Jimmy Carter a long-sought accomplishment.

The former hostages who have accepted invitations from the Thayer Hotel on the West Point grounds will arrive starting next Thursday for several days of events. Ten of the former hostages have died and others are in poor health.

Rosen, 66, then the press attache in Tehran, is a grandfather. He is executive director of public affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College. - AP

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